April 14th, 1912, a day that will be remembered throughout history, the day The Titanic sank. The appalling event that led to the fatal deaths of thousands of people is still a triggering occurrence that still effects society today. Although this event attracted a lot of controversy within several theories about who is at fault for it sinking, there is one obvious answer. That answer is Bruce Ismay, head of the company who owned The Titanic. Ismay caused this tragedy by three impactful decisions.
By limiting the number of lifeboats, rushing travel, and using poor engineering, all effected the deaths of many people. Who is Bruce Ismay you may ask, and why is he the cause of the well-known tragedy, The Titanic? Bruce Ismay was the owner of the company, White Star Line who later became chairman for fourteen years. As a creator of other ships including the Olympic, The Titanic would have been his crowning achievement. He and his company spent over two years creating the ship. The first dreadful decision that Ismay made while creating the ship was limiting the number of lifeboats.
It was first discovered by the chief designer of the Titanic that Ismay made the decision to regulate how many lifeboats could be permitted on the ship. This ship could fit at least forty-eight lifeboats in the deck. While knowing this, Ismay still insisted on having only sixteen on the boat. This amount was enough to save about one-third of the crew and passengers who were on board of the ship. That is thirty-two less lifeboats that were not on the ship the could have saved dozens and dozens of more people. The ship was first made to have about thirty-two boats, but because they thought that the deck of the boat would be extremely filled, the number was condensed. The argument that Ismay revealed was, Why litter the deck, when the ship is herself a lifeboat.
He believed that when a disaster strikes, the boat would save them, but little did he know, that would not be the case. If there were a more amount of the sixteen lifeboats given, then how many less people could have died? Crew and passengers included there was 2229 people, 1503 of that total, died that night. Most of the lifeboats that left the Titanic that night carried only twenty-eight people, when they could have held sixty-four people. Although there were enough life jackets for everyone, that was not enough to save all those people from dying. During the horrible events that occurred, on the last lifeboat, Ismay not only took the last seat but he went ahead of all the other passengers. Women and children were the first priority to be on the lifeboats but even though Ismay knew this, he took advantage of the situation. It was also discovered that the crew were least priority to enter the lifeboats it was the passengers who were supposed to go first. So, most of the ships men and crew were left to die that night because there were not enough boats on the ship to save them. Sir Alfred Chalmers expressed, If the Titanic had carried fewer lifeboats, more people might have been saved, since the existing boats would have been filled to capacity instead of partially empty when the ship sank.
The question that is left with people today is, if Bruce Ismay allowed more lifeboats on the ship, how many people would have still been alive? It was not just Ismay’s decision about how many lifeboats would be on the ship, but it was the rushed travel that caused the fatal crash. On June 1914, not only was Ismay questioned about the amount of lifeboats, but also the speed of the Titanic. Two surviving passengers from the ship, Elizabeth Lines and Emily Ryerson negated Ismay’s statement on trial from what the heard on the ship. On Saturday, April 13th, Ms. Lines caught a two-hour conversation between Bruce Ismay and Captain E.J. Smith. Ismay caught her attention when she heard him say, We made better today than we did yesterday, and we will make a better run tomorrow than we did today. By saying this, he meant that they would arrive one day earlier then they initially arranged.
Every day, Ismay wanted the captain to continue a faster speed then the day before. Not only did she witness him saying that, but she also heard him say, We will beat Olympic and get in to New York on Tuesday. He stated that by arriving earlier, they would have beaten another ship, the Olympic that was on the same route. Ms. Ryerson remembered seeing Ismay with a message in his hand later the following day. The message that he had stated, We are in among icebergs. Regardless of knowing that they were near dangerous icebergs, he still continued going at a faster speed. He told her that in order to surprise everyone that night with a quicker arrival, he would be placing additional boilers to go faster. No matter hearing anything about icebergs nearby, he wanted to keep going. His reason behind for continuing a rapid speed, was fame. If this White Star Line’s chairman, Bruce Ismay, arrived at their destination earlier then they had planned and at a fast speed, he would have been well known everywhere.
He wanted to prove that his company, White Star Line could sail all the way across the Atlantic in just six days. By doing so, he hassled Captain Smith to now slow down but go faster as they passed through the ice fields. A book was published about the Titanic that stated the rivalry that White Star line had with other competing companies, especially Cunard Line. The ship was all about success and fame for Ismay, not about safety for others.
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